There’s a moment when riding a roller coaster that your cart is being pulled ever so slowly up the incline, and you lose all concept of fear. The excitement has yet to kick in and there’s only emptiness coupled with a gnawing sense of anticipation/confusion. Anticipation because obviously, something is on the horizon but confusion because who knows if it’s gonna be any good. And why did you even stand in line for something called the Death Accelerator with no seat belts anyway? Weren’t you just looking for the funnel cake stand? That’s what being a mom of many is like emptiness, confusion, and wishing you’d just had a funnel cake.
There’s a scientific equation (and by scientific, I mean I worked out the math myself while cleaning spit-up from betwixt the couch cushions) that says when the number of children you care for exceeds the number of adults it took to create said children, chaotic results will follow.
My 6-year-old had just been picked up from school. The baby sat two seats away from her, eyes fixated on the back of my headrest as Elmo danced across the car movie screen. We were awash in a sea of minivans and hybrids with the rest of the after school traffic. As we trudged slowly down the road I flipped through my mental dinner recipe Rolodex absentmindedly.
My first grader, oblivious to mommy’s distraction, was regaling the car with a tale of the most exciting things from the day…either fish sticks had been served for lunch or they’d had a fire drill. I’d missed the plot though so it was only by chance I heard, “…but also [friend] came back today. She had a baby!”
The word ‘baby’ stood out in the fog of my mind. My grip tightened on the steering wheel as I held my breath, “What?”